Extending wireless to remote campus locations

Extending wireless to remote campus locations

The Challenge:Exponential growth in network & wireless usage at a small-to-mid size school districts

  • Less than 5,000 students / faculty, at 3 – 12 locations
  • Mandatory on-line testing, on-line curricula, on-line learning management, etc. all drive need for increased LAN and wireless capacity
  • Growth in student end-user devices requiring various bands and channels of operation

All these drive requirement for upgraded wireless and supporting Ethernet switching. But replacing and/or upgrading wireless at all location requires $100,000+ budget.

The Solution:Using Amer Networks Cloud Command network management system and Enterprise grade wireless access points on a campus-by-campus basis.

  • Amer Networks distributed Layer 2 PoE switching
  • WAP334N and WAP 444AC and OWL-300 (outdoor) wireless access points
  • Amer Cloud Command (Amazon cloud) wireless network management system

Amer’s integrated wireless solution provides:

  • Premier quality LAN switching systems with Cisco-interoperable / programmable standards,
  • 100% warranted for life, with all programming upgrades and support included in the initial procurement budget (fixed TCO for lifecycle of network),

Dual-band, enterprise-grade wireless access points

  • High performance, extended range hardware platform featuring dual 802.11n radios with 2×2 MIMO, high gain internal antennas for data rates of 300 Mbps on each radio via Gigabit Ethernet link. Full 802.3af PoE compliant for easy installa­tion.

Cloud Command management:

  • Four SSID per radio; enable multiple networks primary, secondary, staff and visitor networks
  • Concurrent, remote management of multiple customer sites
  • Simplified deployment via self-configuration for full automated implementation
  • Enhanced security with WPA2-PSK + IDA
  • Multi-location roaming
  • Real-time performance reporting and alerting
  • Compliance logging
  • Intuitive, G.U.I. (see above) enables immediate usability

As an indicative example, at a 6-campus, 3,000-student network environment, the Amer WAP / Cloud Command system will support 2,500 end-user devices with a network topology as follows:

  • SS2GR26ip _ Layer 2 24-port gigabit switches with full PoE (+500W) _ One (1) at each site supporting a maximum of 24 WAP units
  • Average 15 WAP334NC wireless access points per location estimated
  • 4-Year Cloud Command network management license fee

Indicative total cost of ownership (TCO) over a 4-Year operation planning budget, including all switching and wireless access point hardware, all Cloud Command network management software costs (hardware and software), all system maintenance, support and upgrades for the lifecycle of the wireless network: $7,100 per campus location.

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University

In 2012, Brigham Young University’s Chemistry faculty faced the challenge described above. Network throughput demands had doubled in 2 years, and were projected to increase exponentially. A nationally recognized education leader since 1875, BYU’s 34,000 students receive the very best of education and resources available anywhere in the nation.BYU executive leadership is determined to maintain this standard. Robert Paxman, Academic Systems Administrator, was charged with upgrading the network infrastructure within the research department of the University. The legacy Cisco 4500-based network had been designated end-of-life and, therefore not supportable over the 6-year planning window. The broad requirements were

  • a network “refresh” to a minimum 20-gigabit backbone;
  • 20 gigabit uplink to the data center;
  • 10 gigabit connectivity to IDF closets, supporting approx. 2,000 ports.

A key executive consideration was extendibility, eliminating “dead-end investment” and fixing operational costs. “No budget surprises” was the prime executive directive. I.T. standards and procurement practices required a minimum of three (3) vendor “proof-of-concept” and accompanying fixed cost quotations. Mr. Paxman was unaware of Amer Networks, but was immediately intrigued by the distributed “Spine and Leaf” architecture Amer submitted. Amer implemented a 60-day on-site verification system. During this process, Amer demonstrated three critical enhancements that exceeded BYU base requirements:

  • Core network capacity at 40 Gbps, extensible to 160 Gbps with only simple component addition, (requiring no system decommissioning, re-configuration or re-deployment);
  • Spine & Leaf architecture enables critical performance increases:
  • Higher available bandwidth
  • Built in redundancy
  • Shorter paths between destination (lower latency), enabling near wire speed data transfer between nodes.

Spine & Leaf opens lowest-cost, least-overhead network expansion pathway for 6-8 year network planning process.

Case-Study-Brigham-Young-University.pdf (779 downloads)

Brocton Central School Board

Brocton Central School Board

Like many school districts in upstate New York, Brocton operates under relatively severe fiscal restraints while requiring significant increases in core and IDF network capacity, wireless network capacity, and optimization of network usage. With a combined total of close to 1,000 staff, faculty and students, a BYOD program had multiplied on-net users by 4X; on-line content and testing multiplied traffic density by 3X.

I.T. coordinator Bill Henris was charged with sourcing and implementing a “best function at best value” network upgrade, network design and, finally, budgeting exercise. The final design included:

  • 25 x 48-port Layer 3 switching systems, connecting all three campus locations on a 10 Gigabit fiber platform.
  • 53 x WAP 334NC wireless access points providing full dual-band, 125 – 150 Mbps wireless connectivity to all classrooms, library, staff, and other facilities on Brocton campuses.
  • 4-Year Amer CloudCommand™ licensing for management of the wireless network: CloudCommand™ is a cloud-based “always available” Cloud-based system residing within Amazon’s distributed Cloud environment for full security and 99.999% availability.
  • 1 x Amer Network WLO880T network optimization system, to ensure optimal user experience and maximum network value.
  • Amer-provided Clavister Next Generation Network Security appliance, providing the most advanced network and user security to staff and students, and the network infrastructure itself.
  • All cabling, media converters and fiber connection accessories.

Asked to summarize the procurement, implementation and current operation of the Amer Network systems, Bill Henris offered the following statement:

“Like all districts, Brocton operates under a pretty tight budget. From the top down, we all work hard to get full value from every dollar we spend. That said, acquiring an “off-brand” technology takes a bit of a ‘leap-of-faith’. But our experience with Amer technology and Amer staff has been nothing but positive. The network systems themselves are absolutely first-rate. The technology has surpassed our requirements and operates beautifully. The Amer technical and business staff have been 100% available throughout the entire project, ensuring we met our goals and deadlines. The network is doing everything we planned, and more.

The final extra value we received was Amer’s contracted commitment to make AC (1 gigabit) wireless access points available to us at their own cost plus 5%. Amer will trial their AC-series Wi-Fi in Q4, 2014, right here at Brocton. This protection of our wireless investment makes all of us very comfortable with our long-range network plans and our budgeting responsibilities.”

Case-Study-Brocton.pdf (967 downloads)

Boaz District School Board

Boaz District School Board

  • Coverage for classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums, common areas, offices, and facility parking lots.
  • 7 Locations – One network across 5 schools and 2 admin locations.
  • 3000 student, staff & visitor concurrent users

The Solution: Amer Wi-Fi Key Management Features:

  • Remote Management Capabilities: One administrator manages all locations in real time from his desk, reducing network down time and service calls.
  • Business Grade Functionality
  • Full district coverage
  • Remote management
  • Enhanced security with Individual Device Authentication (IDA)

Case-Study-Boaz.pdf (1029 downloads)

Craven County School Board

Craven County School Board

The district covers approximately 695 square miles with a total population of 94,875 residents. Area coverage includes the cities of New Bern and Havelock, the towns of Bridgeton, Cove City, Dover, River Bend, Trent Woods, Vanceboro, and Marine Corps Air Station – Cherry Point. We serve 14,882 Students in 15 Elementary, 5 Middle, and 5 High Schools.

Current Network Configuration
Craven County has for the most part deployed a star topology with fiber running into the two Primary IDFs. Most schools come into an Amer Gigabit Layer 3 fiber switch. The two Primary IDFs feed into the MDF which provides access to all the servers. Amer Layer 2 GIG switches and PoE are being used in secondary IDFs, with unmanaged desktop models deployed in the classroom.

Chris Thornton, Craven County Schools Director of I.T.:
“We are primarily GIG throughout, but it became critical in several locations for us to enhance the performance to services on the network. We knew the only way to accomplish that was to implement 10GIG switching and connectivity starting at the core. But we needed to do it with limited budget.”

The Solution
Amer Networks was able to recommend an affordable solution that would give Craven County 10GIG connectivity from the Servers, through the MDF, to the two Primary IDFs and beyond. These IDF’s are now communicating at 10 GIG speeds to the areas that needed it the most. The solution is completely scalable as their needs continue to grow.

Equipment Used: Amer Networks SS3GR1026L Layer 2/3 switches with SFP+Expansion Module and SFP+ Transceivers

Case-Study-Craven-County.pdf (966 downloads)